Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joey DeFrancesco - Snapshot (HighNote, 2009)

Organist Joey DeFrancesco reunites his original trio with Paul Bollenback on guitar and Byron Landham on drums for a nice off the cuff live album, recorded earlier this year in Arizona. The music is shorn of pretensions and is a vivid representation of a club set by a fine working band. "Eighty-One" opens the album in style, with the band building from a medium tempo and slowly raising the heat. The standard "The End of a Love Affair" also keeps things on a low simmer, with DeFrancesco working the keyboard with patience and restraint. Things kick up a notch at the 3:00 mark settling into a fast groove led by Landham's agile drumming. Bollanback gets a subtly shaded guitar feature, before the group slows things back down and takes it out. "Ode to Angela" has a mild start, bubbling from the organ, building to a section where DeFrancesco piles on heaps of lush chording, before giving way to Bollenback's guitar. "Songline" builds the pace in a fast moving trio improvisation, making space for a clear toned guitar interlude. "You Don't Know Me" slows things down to a ballad pace, with DeFrancesco adding some enormous slabs of organ at times a little over the top, but adding a bit of a gospel air to the proceedings. The band performs "Fly Me Too The Moon," which builds energy with some wailing sustained organ work, and "Whichole" a flat out groover to wrap up the set, and they do in a very strong fashion. It is clear that the band has been playing together for quite a while (on and off for fifteen years) and they are very locked into each other throughout. Fans of the groovin' jazz organ tradition perfected by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Larry Young will find a lot to enjoy with the generous and enjoyable album.
Snapshot -

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